ORLANDO, Fla. — Voting is in the books and now the fate of a new firefighter and EMS contract proposal is in the hands of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board.

What You Need To Know

  • Members of the union representing first responders in the former Reedy Creek Improvement District have voted in favor of a new contract 

  • As part of the deal, starting pay for firefighters will increasing by $10,000; EMS starting pay will increase by $14,500

  • Now the board overseeing the newly named Central Florida Tourism Oversight District must vote to approve the deal

Members of the fire union that represents emergency personnel at the former Reedy Creek Improvement District spent the week casting ballots for a new union contract.

Of the 185 members who could cast a vote, officials say 80% voted in favor of the new deal with the remaining 20% either voting “no" or choosing not to vote.

Reedy Creek firefighter and union president Jon Shirey says before the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District was put in place, going to work each day for the past few years was a challenge.

“The overall morale has really been at an all time low,” he said. "When I came here in 2016, this was the place to be — if you were in the area as a Central Florida firefighter or an EMS provider, this is where you wanted to end up.”

But Shirley says that over the past four years, there were no raises, emergency personnel experienced a lack of resources and there was no negotiating their contracts. But he says now that has changed. 

“We were able to increase our starting pay for the firefighters by about $10,000s,” Shirey said. “That will help us with a major recruitment problem that we have suffered with over the last two to three years."

If approved, starting salary for a firefighter will be $65,000, up from $55,000d. EMS workers would see a nearly $15,000 increase in starting pay with a new salary of 54,500.

In addition, 25 new firefighter positions are expected to be added before the end of the year along with 12 more EMS personnel.

Supervisor on the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Michael Sasso issued a statement to News 13 about the negotiations saying, “The progress made in negotiations with the district’s first responders is extremely encouraging. A new agreement is expected to come up for a vote after more than four years of negotiations. Stay tuned.”

Now that the union voting is complete, the new district board will now have to approve it.

The new terms and contract is not on the next agenda meeting for the district, but officials say everything is expected to be finalized before the end of June.